Reviewer: QSS

By this author

Books June 30, 2018

Swan Song

Does Truman Capote belong to the history of literature or the history of celebrity? Both, of course. The man who imposed himself upon the world as an orchid of graciousness and grotesquerie is a legend in himself, and as the author of Breakfast at …

Books June 16, 2018

Last Stories

William Trevor, the Protestant Irishman who died in 2016, was one of the great masters of English prose but he used it, stonily and unflashily, to convey feeling through every possible byway and desolation and transport of what might almost have been …

Books April 07, 2018

The Friendly Ones

Philip Hensher is one of the more compelling writers alive, whether he’s writing about gay bears (the human middle-aged kind), as in King of the Badgers – an offputting book – or showing that he is the heir to Thomas Mann, as he does in …

Books March 17, 2018

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Anyone who’s read much about Daesh knows who created the monster and who is the Frankenstein in that particular horror show. Imagine thinking to avenge September 11, 2001 on Iraq, and in the process – despite ridding the world of Saddam Hussein – …

Books December 09, 2017

The World Goes On

László Krasznahorkai is one of those big-time contemporary talents for whom mighty claims are made. Early on, both Sontag and Sebald compared him to Gogol, that most romantic and cartoonish of 19th-century realists in whose work haunted and unearthly …

Books October 14, 2017

The Sparsholt Affair

When Alan Hollinghurst burst upon the literary world 30-odd years ago with The Swimming-Pool Library he looked like a major talent in search of a minor subject matter. Or was it wrong to say that here was a high comedian of fiction in the manner …

Books September 09, 2017


Karl Ove Knausgaard is the writer since Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace, both alas dead mid-career, for whom the highest claims are made internationally. His multi-volume My Struggle saga asks to be taken as seriously as a work of fiction …

Books August 19, 2017


Every so often someone writes fiction that ravishes the popular imagination. Robert Drewe did it at the outset with The Bodysurfers in 1983 and Christos Tsiolkas has been doing it in his latest books. Now Drewe has done it again in Whipbird, …

Books July 08, 2017

The Secrets She Keeps

It’s amazing the airs trash fiction gives itself these days. The latest effort by Michael Robotham exploits the neat unstartling idea of a woman who works in a supermarket who steals a newborn baby of a posh woman she befriends. It has plenty of tension …